T&D World Magazine

GE Energy and New Zealand Utility Kick Off Smart Grid Project to Help Improve Power Reliability for Customers

GE Energy and central Canterbury electricity network, Orion New Zealand Limited, have announced the implementation of the first phase of a GE network management system to help improve power reliability for customers.

The system of smart grid technologies will significantly improve the network company’s ability to manage big network emergencies and help it to restore power faster when outages occur.

“Finding proven ways to improve reliability for our customers was a driving force behind our decision to kick off this system deployment,” said Orion CEO Roger Sutton. “When severe storms hit, we’ll have the information and capabilities to prevent outages and focus crews to quickly restore power to more people. This is a huge investment for Orion, for the ultimate benefit of all central Canterbury residents who rely on us around the clock to provide a reliable, secure and efficient electricity network.”

GE’s ENMAC Distribution Management System is the foundation of Orion’s initiative. The ENMAC system, to be fully implemented by mid-2010, will help Orion monitor the distribution grid and will give operators an accurate, real-time picture of power flow, trouble spots and potential workarounds for outages.

Orion has completed the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) phase of the project, enabling real-time monitoring and control of the network. This is the first ENMAC SCADA system up and running in New Zealand.

The project is now in its second phase with the installation of a distribution network management system, which will enable Orion to maintain and control its network from a single viewpoint. This system incorporates an electronic network diagram for the Orion control room and will help to reduce the number of power outages, increase the speed of recovery from disruptions, and keep consumers better informed when the lights do go out.

The third phase of the Orion project is an outage management system, which will work with ENMAC to help automatically re-route power when an outage occurs, dispatch crews and help operators make better decisions for faster power restoration.

ENMAC’s mobile functionality will add further flexibility to Orion’s system. Instructions to field crews will be automated from the ENMAC platform via wireless mobile networks, for more timely and efficient responses to customers.

Orion New Zealand Ltd. owns and operates the electricity network in central Canterbury between the Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers and from the Canterbury coast to Arthur’s Pass. The network covers 8,000 square kilometers of diverse geography, including Christchurch City, Banks Peninsula, farming communities and high country.

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